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Reef extension trainees get to work

Farmers within the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) Catchments will benefit from the introduction of six new extension trainees.

The trainees, supported through the Reef Extension Work Placement Initiative, have commenced work with six NRM or agricultural organisations from Mossman to Gympie.

The Queensland Farmers’ Federation (QFF) has partnered with the Queensland Government to deliver the initiative that aims to increase extension capacity and support for farmers.

The initiative places trainee reef extension officers within Reef catchment organisations to work alongside respected professionals with expertise in NRM and/or agricultural fields. Trainees will learn from their mentors and work with farmers to help them increase their knowledge and skills, and help implement on-ground activities.

QFF President Stuart Armitage said that industry was excited to be assisting with the placement of such an eager cohort of trainee extension officers and thanked the QLD Department of Environment and Heritage Protection for funding and the QLD Department of Agriculture and Fisheries for supporting this initiative.

“The delivery of extension services has undergone significant change in recent years. QFF supported this initiative because it provides an opportunity to increase land management extension capacity by fast tracking young people entering the sector through dedicated mentoring arrangements.

“It is encouraging to see government act on the need to increase targeted extension services across the Reef catchments and start to address the current and forecast shortfall of extension advisors.”

“This capacity building program is another step towards a more holistic approach to helping deliver Reef water quality targets, and industry looks forward to seeing the trainees develop into experienced officers that can continue to support agricultural managers and businesses, said Mr. Armitage.

QFF is hosting an event involving key industry and government stakeholders to introduce the new trainees. It will be an excellent opportunity for the trainees and stakeholders to get a better understanding of what is expected and achievable within their new roles.

Reef Extension Graduate Officers:

  • Aaditi Dang – Wondai (Burnett Mary region)
  • Lili Usher-Chandler – Gympie (Wide Bay)
  • Erin Baldwin – Rockhampton (Fitzroy Basin)
  • Zoe Eagger – Mackay & Buderim (Mackay Whitsundays)
  • Elis Walker – Townsville (Burdekin)
  • Kate Armstrong – Mossman (Wet Tropics)

The Reef Extension Work Placement Program, is a result of an independent extension and education review and will provide training opportunities for existing extension officers across the Reef catchments. It is funded by the Queensland Government through the Queensland Reef Water Quality Program.

Source: QFF

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